Celebrities call out comedian’s transphobic rant, trans men protest Miss Italy’s ban on trans women and more

6 queer and trans stories we’re watching: July 26

Happy Wednesday, y’all! Read on for the top queer stories today, including those about a new “open” swimming category that would include trans swimmers, Putin’s ban on gender-affirming care and more. 

1. Putin signs law banning gender-affirming care and surgery
2. Trans men enter Miss Italy pageant to protest anti-trans rule
3. World Aquatics announces “open” category including trans swimmers
4. Trans man brutalized by L.A. County deputy
5. Lawsuits filed against U.S. government for failing to hear LGBTQ+ Ukrainian and Russian asylum claims 
6. Trans celebrities call out comedian’s transphobic rant

1. Putin signs law banning gender-affirming care and surgery

Yesterday, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law which, effective immediately, bans all trans care in Russia. Trans Russians can no longer change their gender on birth certificates, passports and other official identification, and healthcare providers are barred from administering hormone therapy and surgery. Trans activists have decried the law, saying that it will spark an increase in suicides among trans youth unable to receive care. 

“There is no safety anymore, soon they will openly hunt us like swine, we have no right to exist, they say,” Elena, a young woman told freelance journalist Sergei Dimitrov earlier this month. 

2. Trans men enter Miss Italy pageant to protest anti-trans rule

After Miss Italy instituted a new “women from birth” only rule—a reaction to Rikkie Valerie Kollé winning the title of Miss Netherlands, the first trans woman ever to do so—trans men have begun enrolling in the contest. Trans activist Federico Barbarossa started the trend, with many other trans men following his example.

“We hope that the gesture will arouse the media clamour needed to put these issues back at the centre, and that many other ‘women at birth’ register en masse for the competition to make fun of these positions out of time, above Italian law,” Barbarossa told the Italian newspaper la Repubblica. “They would reject me because I’m a boy and I look like a boy, while if a trans girl registers, she is rejected because she is not considered a woman: what’s the point, then?”

3. World Aquatics announces “open” category including trans swimmers

World Aquatics—the international governing body for swimming competitions—has announced that it will create a new “open” category that would include trans swimmers. Husain Al-Musallam, the president of World Aquatics, said that the category would be instituted sometime in the future without giving any specifics. World Aquatics used to ban trans athletes from competing


“This is a very complex topic,” Al-Musallam said at the World Aquatics Congress Fukuoka, Japan. “But I am delighted to tell you today that we are now making plans for the first trial of an open category, and we hope to be able to confirm all the details soon…. Our sport must be open to everybody.”

4. Trans man brutalized by L.A. County deputy

L.A. County police are investigating after a trans man was brutalized by a deputy and coerced into showing his genitals in jail. Emmett Brock, a 24-year-old former English teacher, told NBC News that he had flipped off Deputy Joseph Benza after he saw him having a heated conversation with a woman on the side of the road. Benza started following him, and when Brock got out of his car, the deputy threw him to the ground and punched his head all while Brock was screaming that Benza was going to kill him. The deputy then arrested him and took him to jail, where a staff member brought Brock to the bathroom and urged him to show her his genitals. Because of the charges Brock is facing, he lost his job as a 12th-grade English teacher for at-risk youth.

“That was my self-worth. That’s where I got my fulfillment in life, was helping others, teaching these students and being there for them,” Brock told NBC News. “So when I lost that I just, that was my happiness, and it’s been a lot of depression and hopelessness.”

5. Lawsuits filed against U.S. government for failing to hear LGBTQ+ Ukrainian and Russian asylum claims

Legal Services NYC and WilmerHale announced that they are filing two new lawsuits against United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) for failing to schedule hearings for two queer asylum seekers, one from Ukraine and the other from Russia. Both of the plaintiffs—who had been persecuted and assaulted for being queer—have been waiting over six months for their hearings due to the “Last In, First Out” (LIFO) policy, which leaves seekers with older applications in a prolonged, often many-year limbo. 

“I came to the U.S. with dreams and hopes that the rule of law might actually work here, which would give me the chance to be myself, openly gay, without being afraid of being killed for it. But waiting for an interview has turned my life into constant stress and turmoil,” said Denys Nikonov, a plaintiff. 

6. Trans celebrities call out comedian’s transphobic rant

Trans celebrities including Ts Madison and Angelica Ross are speaking out after comedian Jess Hilarious posted a transphobic rant on social media. In a video posted in response to a TikTok from trans TikToker Blessing Rose responding to a transphobic comment, Jess Hilarious referred to trans women as being “mentally insane” and having a “delusion.” “Who the fuck is gonna stand up for us?” she said in the video, adding that by “us” she meant “real women.” 

In response, actress Angelica Ross tweeted, “The trans girls are going to show Jess a new way to bleed. We call it reading for BLOOD. And I PROMISE you girls don’t want no part of this. I been trying to keep the gurls calm but it’s only so much I can do.”


Actress, activist and reality star Ts Madison also took to social media, pointing to a previous incident in which Jess Hilarious had admitted to being mistaken for a trans woman, and writing, “There are sooooo many ‘Real’ women that get mistaken for being ‘transgender’ Women and that’s where a lot of the anger comes from … I do hope they take a Good look at how Transphobia affects ALL women …” 

Jackie Richardson is a freelance writer based in Western New York. She has worked at The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, and The Sophian.

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